As we all know, COVID-19 has led to unique opportunities and innovation out of desperation amid basic supply shortages. With disinfectant cleaners and hand sanitizers hard to come by over the last four months, many companies have started producing products not in their normal lineup of offerings in order to meet demands.

The CDC says that washing hands with plain soap and water for 20 seconds is still the best way to prevent the spread of infections. If soap and water are not readily available, they recommend consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

FDA sanitizer recalls

While there is evidence to support sanitizer having effectiveness with as low as 60% alcohol content, not all brands are created equal. The FDA just released safety information on hand sanitizers, in particular a list of recalled brands due to potential presence of undeclared Methanol (wood alcohol).

“The FDA is warning consumers and health care providers that the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol), but have tested positive for methanol contamination.

The agency is aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations, and death.

Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects.”

See the FDA’s full statement, as well as the list of recalled sanitizers here. The list is being updated daily.

Our wellness department is currently able to keep a few sanitizer brands in stock, none of which appear on the FDA recall list. You can trust that Peoples’ selection of sanitizers is effective and safe for you and your family to use. What’s more, if your sanitizer is over-drying, you can check with our knowledgeable wellness team for creams and supplements to help retain and restore moisture to your hands.

Peoples has your hands covered

In an unprecedented move, earlier this year the FDA granted compounding pharmacies permission to compound high quality hand sanitizer for purchase without a prescription! Typically, any item that is compounded requires a prescription per government regulation.

This unique opportunity allows Peoples to compound our own safe and effective hand sanitizer, which we quickly began making batches of. We started donating sanitizer to first responders in the Austin area back in April, and are prepared to make and sell it to the public should the shortage of sanitizer on shelves continue. Being a compounding pharmacy, Peoples has higher standards we are required to comply with, and we’re able to use the highest quality, FDA-approved chemicals in the industry.

Does your sanitizer smell like tequila?

Distilleries were also granted permission to make hand sanitizer. Many local distilleries like Tito’s, Deep Eddy, and Dripping Springs stepped up to the task and began making sanitizer when the city’s shelter-in-place orders first took effect. And thank goodness, because our first responders and medical staff on the frontlines of COVID-19 needed it desperately!

But yes, many of the sanitizers currently being produced do have a foul scent. They smell like vodka, tequila, or rum, have a watery or thin consistency, and are extremely drying to your hands. Don’t be alarmed though, as smell or consistency doesn’t necessarily change the effectiveness of a sanitizer. Once again, just be sure to check the FDA’s recall list before purchasing sanitizer.


Thank you for choosing Peoples Rx for your wellness and compounding needs. We appreciate you and are here to help!


Jenni Kroplin has been in pharmacy compounding, marketing, and education for 6 years, and is the Educational Outreach Director for Peoples Rx. She is passionate about educating and advocating for compounding, and actively participates in continuing education courses with PCCA for the latest innovations and updates in compounding.

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